The champ is here, again. LeBron James graces the cover of Sports Illustrated, the twentieth time he has done so. In the story, King James talks about equating his championship securing jumpshot to another by a certain NBA great named Michael Jordan.
The cover story was written by SI senior writer Lee Jenkins, who followed James around during the NBA Finals.
James uncorked 20 shots outside the paint in Game 7, the most since he arrived in South Florida three years ago. He drained nine, including five three-pointers. But with 33 seconds left, Miami was only up by two, and James bounced the ball on the blazing Heat logo at midcourt. He was back in the ring of fire. With the floor expertly spaced by Spoelstra, guard Mario Chalmers darted up from the post to set a screen on Leonard at the left elbow, and James bounded around it. Parker switched onto him, but James planted his left shoulder into Parker’s chest, sending him stumbling backward. Leonard recovered, tossing out a hand to contest, but James did not hesitate. He pulled up from 20 feet, easy as an August afternoon at St. V, with the same result. “I know it wasn’t the magnitude of MJ hitting that shot in ’98, but I definitely thought about him,” James said. “It was an MJ moment.” He paused as a turn of phrase came to mind. “It was an LJ moment.”
Check out the full cover, which features James holding and looking down at the Larry O’Brien trophy, and outtakes from the shoot on the flip. James was named SI‘s Sportsman of the Year in late 2012.
Go ahead with the hairlines jokes, we know you can’t help yourselves.
Photo: Jeffrey A. Salter/Sports Illustrated